LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3)-- Hurricane Sandy caused damage in at least 15 states but no question, New Jersey and New York, took the brunt of it.
Now the airports are back open and stranded passengers along with storm weary New Yorkers are finally leaving Las Vegas.
“The damage is already done, this trip was planned, we managed to get out in time.” said New Yorer Drew Doscher.
Doscher and his friends carry photographic reminders of Hurricane Sandy on their cell phones.
The group of New Yorkers hopped aboard Virgin Airlines flight 251 Friday morning and headed to Las Vegas escaping, if only for a few days, the chaos back home.
“It was worse, obviously worse than Hurricane Irene, and the city shut down unfortunately," Doscher said. "I lost a cousin in 9-11, it was worse than 9-11 as far as the city shutdown. We lost power, we lost water. I live in Manhattan, born and raised in Manhattan, it was awful.”
Five days after the storm came ashore; more than 3.6 million people along the East Coast are still without power with long lines for gasoline causing more problems.
Las Vegan Pat Manna was in New York for a wedding.
“My cousin lives on a block where 8 of the houses burned down,” she said.
She'd been trying to get home since Tuesday.
“We stayed in a hotel in Kennedy last night, it was a nightmare,” Manna said. “Couldn't get rental cars, they weren't accepting them at the rental car places. Then we finally got it in there, we couldn't buy gas anywhere, so they nail you for 6-bucks a gallon when you turn the car in.”
But despite the damage and the cleanup still ahead, Doscher, for one, remains optimistic.
H may have left Manhattan temporarily but not even a monster like Sandy will break his spirit.
“New York is a resilient city, we've been through a lot so it's good to see everybody pull together.” Doscher said.
Tonight you will have the chance to help those impacted by the storm. NBC will be airing a special telethon at 8 o clock hosted by the today show's Matt Lauer. The money raised during tonight's event will be donated to the American Red Cross relief fund for Hurricane Sandy.